Indian Premier League April 5, 2010

Finding form is difficult in Twenty20


Yuvraj Singh skies a catch in an attempt to rediscover form © Indian Premier League

Yuvraj Singh’s form, or the lack of it, has been the talk of the town for since the beginning of IPL 2010. The Twenty20 pros Dilshan and Jayasuriya have also already lost their places in their respective sides. And there are others like Kumar Sangakarra, and AB de Villiers who are getting a lot of flak too.

Ever wondered why more than half a dozen good players are struggling to excel in this format? Well, Twenty20 is a ruthless format. It not only magnifies your weakness but also refuses the time to rectify them. So, if you happen to walk into this format without form and confidence or if you happen to hit a rough patch in the middle of the tournament, you’re most likely doomed.

The golden rule of scoring runs is to spend time in the middle. Ideally instead of looking for runs, one should not be averse to paying a few dot balls in the beginning. Then take a few singles and twos before going for boundary shots. In a fifty-over game, you can always make up for the dot balls later but Twenty20 doesn’t give you that luxury.

The construction of a Twenty20 innings is quite different to how it is done in ODIs. Even in a Twenty20 game, one can afford to start slowly. Yet, starting slowly in Twenty20 does not mean playing dot balls, but aiming to take those vital singles.

A strike-rate of 100 is the bare minimum that a batsman should strive for, that too only for the first 6-7 balls. A boundary must follow soon or else you may be jeopardising your team’s chances of scoring big. The only exception to this rule is if you’re blessed to have a Yusuf Pathan-like- batsman at the other end or your team is chasing an insignificant total. Gautam Gambhir found that ally in Dinesh Karthik against the Royals. Karthik’s heroics allowed Gambhir to bide his time. On the contrary, Ganguly tried something similar against Mumbai Indians but unfortunately Gayle wasn’t batting that fluently either and hence he received a lot of flak for playing slowly.

Bowlers too have to put up with form blues. A bowler low on confidence might just bowl a couple of loose balls in the beginning. In a fifty-over game, he might get away with it because the batsmen are not always on the offensive. But in Twenty20, even good balls disappear for fours and sixes, let alone the bad deliveries. So he better be on the spot from the first ball or perish.

But this format also dictates that you fail more often than you succeed. The averages tell the story. Most batsmen average in the mid-20s and only a few in the 30s. I’m yet to see a batsman averaging in 40s in this format. So how do players get back to scoring after a failure or two? Since biding time is not possible in this format, the only way to come back to form is to be positive and take the initiative. You must get to your opposition before they get to you. Certain players hit their way out of trouble, which is considered almost blasphemous in other formats, but in Twenty20, the ones who do so, make the quickest comebacks.

Former India opener Aakash Chopra is the author of Out of the Blue, an account of Rajasthan's 2010-11 Ranji Trophy victory. His website is here and his Twitter feed here

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  • testli5504537 on August 22, 2010, 2:50 GMT

    It was rather interesting for me to read this blog. Thank you for it. I like such topics and anything connected to this matter. I would like to read more soon.

    Anete Hakkinen

  • testli5504537 on April 6, 2010, 14:38 GMT

    Good Article...just a quick note though, Matthew Hayden averages a tad under 46 after 34 innings, and 51 the international version.

    Given a minimum of 15 innings, there is 5 batsman with a higher average than 40, or 12 altogether.

  • testli5504537 on April 6, 2010, 14:06 GMT

    There are a couple of batsmen averaging 40 after 30 or so games, Hayden and Marsh (and maybe a few others)... but those definitely look like the exceptions.

    An average of 30 will be the hallmark of a class T20 player.

  • testli5504537 on April 5, 2010, 21:00 GMT

    >>I’m yet to see a batsman averaging in 40s in this format. Akash - Check out the stats of a player whole middle name is Lawrence and whose bat is a snake killer.

  • testli5504537 on April 5, 2010, 20:40 GMT

    I beg to differ with the author albeit he is undoubtedly a cricketer of repute...form is temporary but class is it 20-20 or any format, present-generation dynamics demand quick runs & the 20-20 mentality will creep into all forms of the game! Sachin Tendulkar is a fine example to illlustrate my point...he has not only been a star performer for mumbai this season, his scoring rate has also picked up in other formats & he is won more matches for India (on average) than he has ever before..even the Bangladeshi's are taking the attack to the opposition & almost pulling it more is the golden rule spending time in the middle but more so "finding the middle of the bat" earlier than later! 20-20 may just be the tonic test cricket needs to keep afloat.

  • testli5504537 on April 5, 2010, 20:00 GMT

    So, whats the moral of the story? Dont play twenty20..? Everyone knows twenty20 is fast game..didnot see anything new in this article.

  • testli5504537 on April 5, 2010, 19:51 GMT

    May I request Mr. Aakash Chopra to visit the link below to find himself how many batsmen have an average of nore than 40?

  • testli5504537 on April 5, 2010, 19:41 GMT

    Shane Watson averages over 40 in the IPL.

  • testli5504537 on April 5, 2010, 18:59 GMT

    Excellent article and very true..... ]

    Excellent article and very true. Am surprised that Dilshan has lost him form as well.

  • testli5504537 on April 5, 2010, 18:57 GMT

    Ya thats right that it is hard to find form in t20 cricket but one thing i notice in this shoter version of game it really to make most of the opprtunities as a player and as a team. Few examples are like Murili Vijay hardly known as a hitter but he is a stand out performer now, jayavardhane shows that how to blazant in style, Ganguly making his remarks. As a team catching is the most important thing, teams who are taking catches wining matches, though topic was all about finding form so to find form take your risks and make most of the oppurtunity.

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